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Baking from the Heart Submitted: 11/20/2012
RHINELANDER - Rosettes, Sandbakkels, and KrumKake may not sound like typical cookies you reach for, but for Chris Garness these treats bring back decades of memories.

The recipes for these traditional Scandinavian cookies originate from Chris' parents, who had a long history in the bakery business.

Chris Garness says, "My mother made sure that I could produce these cookies from her death bed in the hospital."

Now, Chris is recreating the flavors for the Northwoods by building his own business. But, the process hasn't been quite as sweet.

Throughout his life Chris has dealt with addiction struggles, jail time, and homelessness. Earlier this year he was living at Frederick Place in Rhinelander and found a recipe for success, "We made about 80 8-packs of cookies, 640 cookies, and brought them to the farmers' market, and they were well received."

Since then, Chris has made thousands of cookies, donating more than half.

Each cookie has a special meaning, "I've named each cookie after each of my three daughters."

There are handfuls of people he's thankful for - one is Mike Edlund. Mike owns the Dinky Diner in Rhinelander-and lends his kitchen to Chris' project.

Mike Edlund, owner of the Dinky Diner says, "He's dedicated to what he's doing and loves what he's doing and it's a perfect environment for him. It's done after we close so he has from 2 o'clock until 4:30 in the morning."

Chris literally burns the midnight oil, but it's not without a few helpers.

Kathy Alsteen helps make cookies, "It's always something fun to do during the season."

Chad Peek also helps, "It's an easy job, my days go by quick. Sometimes I'm working 12 hours and it feels likes four."

Chris' dream is about more than a business - it's about a tradition. Today's youth may not be as familiar with these types of cookies, but he gets a lot of reaction from the older generation, "They go gaga over them, so it's a lot of fun to see their response. When they see them they're like 'oh my Rosettes, Krumkake, my grandma used to make them' and that's the thing with them, everyone's grandma made them but they're not being made today."

And while Chris hopes to introduce some new faces to these old favorites, he's also discovering a few new tricks, "I ended up with some perfect Rosettes last night and the thought crossed my mind that my mother Lillian was smiling down from Heaven at me now saying Chris you finally got it, you figured it out."

A memory that keeps Chris in the kitchen, working toward his goal.

You can purchase his cookies at:

Betty Junes
421 main st.
stillwater mn. 55082
(651)-351-3194

a' la Mode
Ice Cream & Coffee Shop
2100 Lincoln St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-362-3994

Northern Coffee Haus
34 S. Brown St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-369-9390

Debby's North Country Farm Market
727 Hwy.51 North
Woodruff Wi. 54568
(715)-356-4264

Hodag Mobil
2219 N. Stevens St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-369-5038

West Side Shell
1999 River St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-369-3132

Hodag BP
2141 Lincoln St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-362-3363


Coffee beans etc...
1022 Lincoln St.
Rhinelander Wi. 54501
(715)-365-7440

Gateway 76
4103 Hwy. 45
Land-O-Lakes Wi.
(715)-547-3683

Summit Lake BP
Hwy. 45&47
Summit Lake Wi.
(715)-275-3830

The Country Store & Candy
116 E. Wall St.
Eagle River Wi. 54521
(715)-479-9226


Story By: Kira Lynne

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